Why so many of us often have these wishes and desires to improve our lives, yet fall just short of taking action (myself very much included.)
How many times have you thought to yourself:
I want to be a better friend.
I want to make more time for my art.
I want to read more books.
I want to brush up on my Italian.
I want to travel the world.
I want to do something today to make someone else feel better.
How many times have you had that thought in your car at a stoplight, in bed before you fall asleep, after watching a touching video online, after having a conversation with a friend, after hearing someone inspiring speak?
And how many times has that thought then vanished into the ether without some sort of action to tether it to reality?
If we’re talking about me… it’s hundreds if not thousands of times.
There are so many things in my life that I WANT. Even things I know I need, things that I know will bring immense value to me, but inevitably I fall just short of putting those things into practice. Because it’s hard to change our everyday behavior without making at least one significant intentional action.
If you want to read more books, maybe that’s picking out one book a month and blocking out 30 minutes on your Google Cal with an alarm to your phone.
If you want to be a better friend, maybe that’s writing down the five friends that you want to have for life and sending one of them a letter each week for the next five weeks.
Whatever that aspiration is, if you want it to be real, you have to ACTIONIZE it. (Yep, I just made up a word. Actionize. But honestly, I’m surprised it doesn’t exist yet because I think we all need a LOT more actionizing in our lives.)
It may seem overly simple, but I believe THIS is the thing so many of us struggle with. We have dreams and ideas and goals and desires, but dreaming is so much easier than acting, isn’t it?
And yet I believe that if we can adjust our internal settings so that we’re just a little bit more biased to action, we can make some amazing things happen in our lives.
Yesterday morning I was in bed reading Essentialism, and the book was talking about giving yourself time and space to think. It suggested using an Out Of Office reply to curb your email monster, and I thought, Man, I should really put an auto-responder up for the month of December while I’m on creative hiatus. Just something to give myself the space to not feel beholden to my inbox when I’m supposed to be creating freely.
In the past, I would’ve had this thought and may or may not have acted on it later. But with this perspective fresh in my head, I dropped the book right then and there, opened my laptop and drafted the auto-response. I took one significant, intentional action to bring that desire to fruition. (And can I just say, it felt amazing! It was so satisfying to grab a potentially fleeting thought and take action on it.)
So.. here’s the how-to. Are you ready?
When you find yourself starting a statement with “I really wish….” or “I want to…” or “My life could use a lot more…” make sure that your next question is this:
What’s ONE SMALL ACTION I can take in the next five minutes to bring this further into reality?
AKA How do I … actionize this aspiration?
Commit to asking yourself this question for the next week and see how satisfying it feels to act on all those tiny desires that pop into your head.